This page will be updated as information changes.
Last update: March 6, 2021.
Hey Calvary, welcome to our second regathering update for 2021. We are well on our way to our first Sunday morning regatherings. We already have 5 in-person Flood gatherings. We’ve been gathering in person for our Flood prayer and worship time on Sunday evenings at 6pm. It’s been good.
And we are only 3 weeks away from Palm Sunday. While Tyrone, Penns Valley and Lewistown have been meeting. For Harvest Fields and Midtown, Palm Sunday will be our first in-person, in the morning, in the building worship gathering since we started this crazy journey together. According to the survey we sent out, about 50% of you are ready to come back together on the first Sunday regardless of how we do it. So that is shaping our planning.
Palm Sunday we’ll still be masked and at about ½ capacity so that we can do some social distancing. But judging from our experience at Flood, God will still show up. This info will be slightly different for each of the gatherings, but for HF&MT, for at least Palm Sunday and Easter, we will ask you to register so that we can try to stay within those capacity bounds. So please be watching for more info on that.
Easter is going to be great for Calvary. We are going to celebrate hope and celebrate resurrection. And we are going to gather in some way shape or form…at all of our gatherings. Way back in March when we entered this corona-virus season, I said, the next time we gather together we’re gonna celebrate Easter. What I meant was we would have Easter in June; not see you next Easter. But Easter 2021 is going to be a great celebration of hope.
For Harvest Fields and Midtown we are looking at a couple of different options that would allow us to be together in a larger group, including Spikes Stadium and we are considering hosting an Easter Sunrise Service…though maybe a little bit after the sun actually rises.
And for those of you connecting with us primarily online - You are our second largest gathering. According to that survey, 17% of you will primarily connect with us online in 2021. We are committed to continuing a great online presence with worship gatherings and other discipleship growth opportunities.
As we continue to move into 2021, let me say how incredibly grateful I am for the way you continue to be the church. We don’t go to church, we are the church. We can’t restart or reopen the church because the church never stopped. And I am so encouraged by the ways that you continue to be the church.
- You continue to be the church through generosity. I talk a bit more about that in this weekend’s message.
- You continue to be the church by loving your neighbors. In the survey that we did, 97% of your know some of your neighbors names. 56% of you know 10 or more of their names. And 78% of you are actively engaged in praying for your neighbors, loving them and inviting them into your own space. About a ¼ of you are even having spiritual conversations with our neighbors. So good. And we have some great stuff planned for 2021 with our front-yard missions.
- You continue to be the church through diving into the word and prayer. Thank you to those of you coming to Flood and those of you doing the 40 Day New Testament Challenge. I know God continues to smile when we “be still” to know that He is God.
As we move into 2021. There will be changes. If you have been following along through the messages for the last 11 months, you know that I’m not interested in going back to normal. God has placed us in a transitional disruption, not a temporary interruption. I’m eager to move forward, but not go back.
- One of the changes as I already said is that we are going to invest significant resources in providing digital discipleship opportunities so that those who connect primarily online can grow as Jesus-apprentices but those resources will be for all of us as well.
- A second change to go along with our continued emphasis on Front Yard Missions is that we are going to start something brand new that we are calling CWOW Sunday. The fourth weekend of every month, rather than gathering in-person at a facility we are going to look for ways to take the church and be the church in our communities.
- A third change is not so much a change as it is a recommitment. We are recommitting to helping churches in central PA thrive. In a typical year throughout the US, 18,000 churches will close their door. Now that is balanced by new churches starting up…but because of the last year, it is estimated that the next 12-18 months we could see 60,000 churches close. We want to do our best to help congregations in central PA thrive.
- The last change that I would detail for now is that we are going to increase our call to prayer, but adding two Flood services a month and by starting a year-around 24/7 prayer movement to pray for revival and awakening.
As it is with most changes at Calvary over the years, these are all experiments. Some of them you may like, some you may not. I’ll talk more about all of them in the weeks to come. But as time goes by we’ll evaluate and get input and cast vision. With all my heart I believe that God has great good in store for us…as we keep on adopting a posture of surrender, brokenness and vulnerability. So…
Continue to pray. Continue to love your neighbors. Continue to go deeper with God. Continue to be the church. It won’t be long till we are on the other side of this…God’s turn of the page is coming. Our story is unfinished.
God is our hope. And I’m looking forward to the coming months with eager expectancy. That’s all I got now. Thank you for being the church.